As mentioned earlier, the majority of my colleagues have an Office365 F3 license. This means they work exclusively with the web and mobile apps.
That can be a surprise for new employees, who are used to the desktop variety of everything. The fact that you can not open documents from your desktop Explorer causes a lot of confusion, for instance. And the fact that documents look different in editing and reading view is another frequent complaint, although this can be solved by pointing people to the Reading View. The web apps have improved greatly over the past few years, but they do not have all functionality of the desktop version. So in some cases you really need to rethink your processes to mimic a desktop function in a web app.
Microsoft has an overview of differences. Differences between using a document in the browser and in Word – Word (microsoft.com)
One of the questions we received was adding a watermark to a Word document. This functionality is not available in the web app. When you look for “watermark” in the web app, you get a prompt to open the document in the desktop version.
How to add a watermark in Word desktop
The option is in the Design tab, which is missing from the web version. You can select one of the mentioned marks, or create a custom one.
How to add a watermark in Word for the web?
In this case, we needed “Confidential” in a diagonal style.
My colleague and I brainstormed a bit and we came up with three alternatives:
1. Add a blank Word document with the watermark as template in a SharePoint library
This works well when you and you colleagues have a SharePoint site and you regularly need to use the watermark.
- Ask someone to create a Word document in the desktop version with the desired watermark
- Add this as a template to a SharePoint document library (item 6 in that post)
- Whenever you need a document with watermark, create a new instance using the template. You will not see the watermark when in editing mode, but if you click the tab View > Reading View you will see what the final document will look like.
2. Add an image with the watermark to the document
This works well when you do not use this very often or have no SharePoint site at your disposal.
- Create an image with the correct words. You can do this in PowerPoint, with a text box, which allows you to rotate to the correct slant. Use soft grey letters. Save the image.
- When you have finished writing your document, click the Insert tab and select Picture from this device. Then, under Wrap Text (will appear after insertion) select the option “Behind text”.
- Make sure it looks good before you exit the picture editing, as it is hard to go back and re-edit location and size of image.
- Repeat for the next page. It can be sensible to decide beforehand where in the document (height) the image sits best so you can create a consistent appearance.
- It may be wise to save and share this as a PDF document as the image can easily be taken off.
3. Use header and/or footer
A watermark is an established option to create a message about the status of your document, but it is not the only way. Headers and footers will be visible on every page of your document, too! So you can also use those.
- In your document, click Insert > Header and Footer.
- Add the text as a header and/or a footer. You can change the font size and colour; just click on the word and an edit menu will pop up.
- You will not see the texts when you are in editing mode, but the words “header” and “footer” will be visible next to the top resp. bottom of your page to remind you that they are there.
- Use the Reading View (under the View tab) to see what it looks like.
Do you have any workarounds for desktop functionality in the web versions? Please share in the comments!